Million steps walked by blind veterans

A group of seven blind veterans – including an ex-Army technician from Woodhall Spa – have hit a milestone of 10 million steps as part of a challenge to maintain wellbeing and fitness in lockdown.

78-year-old John Wilkinson from Woodhall Spa is one of the blind veterans. EMN-210929-092929001

With an average age of 79, the seven ex-Service men and women started their challenge in March and hit 10 million steps over the month of September.

The initiative was launched following concerns around the effect lockdown was having on the physical and mental health of blind veterans in the North East.

One of the blind veterans taking part is 78-year-old John Wilkinson from Woodhall Spa. John spent 13 years with the Royal Signals TA as a Sergeant Radio Technician and started to lose his sight 20 years ago through Macular Degeneration and he is now registered severely sight impaired.

He said that the weekly walks have been brilliant for his health, both physically and mentally: “Being part of the group has been brilliant. It’s given me a purpose to get out and walk. I’m doing around three miles a day. I would go further but my knees just won’t allow it.

“I look forward to getting the steps going and catching up with the others every Monday.

“I can’t thank Blind Veterans UK enough for setting this initiative up. It’s helped me and the others no end.”

Allison Williams, community support worker for Lincolnshire at Blind Veterans UK, said: “It’s a sad fact that many of the blind veterans we support suffer from social isolation. And the lockdown period meant many of them were getting out of the house even less than before.

“It’s been a huge success with everyone feeling much better both physically and mentally, and it was brilliant to celebrate our combined 10 million steps together!””